Even if your child only uses the English system in early elementary school, chances are good that they’ll encounter and have a need to master the metric system at some point in their education. These chances increase if they go on to study in STEM fields! Metrics really are easy to learn, and there are fun, simple things you can do around the house to set them up for later success.
Get in the kitchen! While most American cookbooks give quantities in the English system, it’s easy to convert those amounts to the metric system with a quick chart or online calculator. Use a scale that measures in grams, flip that measuring cup around to milliliters, and forget about the measuring spoons! Not only will kids learn to use the metric system for measuring, they’ll start understanding the relationship between familiar units (teaspoons, ounces, etc.) and their similar metric counterparts.
Pay attention to products and containers. Almost all of the foods, toiletries and cleaning products found in our homes have amounts printed on their labels. While having your kids help you shop (or clean!), take time to talk about the metric amounts listed. Do quick conversions from milliliters to liters or grams to kilograms. Discuss what unit makes the most sense for different measurements like the length of spaghetti noodles, the mass of a pill capsule, or the volume of the pool!
Catch them all! Popular games like Pokémon Go use metrics on their map systems. This is a great way to slip a little learning into kids’ screen time. Players will learn to relate familiar distances to their metric amounts, and it will give them a better overall understanding, as they walk around the neighborhood catching Pikachu or Pidgey.
Your kids will likely become proficient in the metric system once they’re into math and science classes, but giving them an early start and familiarity with metric units and measurement will make the transition go more smoothly.